I think almost all South East Asian countries have their own version of tamarind-based soup, slightly spicy with loads of soft vegetables. Malaysians with their laksa soup, Filipinos with sinigang, Thais with tom yam. Sourish tamarind deserves much more credits than it already has. It is one of the ingredients that made our cuisine as exotic as it now is.
Our tamarind soup uses sliced tamarind (asam potong) and salam leaves with vegetables that can nicely soak up all the beautiful flavors from tamarind, bay leaves, lemongrass, palm sugar (gula merah) and chilies. It is also very easy to prepare. Grind up some paste, boil the water, add the paste and cook the soup over simmering heat. Drop all the vegetables in the pot and be done with it. Serve with steamed rice and sambal belacan for that extra kick. Sometimes we love the crunchy anchovies deep-fried to perfection. Delish.
Fresh spices to be used whole – tomatoes, slices of tamarind, galangal, lemongrass and salam leaves.